Fantastic Mexican food is one of the best reasons to visit Los Angeles, for there's no better place on the planet (except for in Mexico itself, of course) to find the tastiest dishes originating from south of the border. From little taco stands (and the original food trucks) to elegant eateries specializing in fine fare from specific regions of Mexico, Southern California has it all. Even the James Beard Foundation acknowledges that the City of Angels has one of the best in the U.S., recently honoring Guelaguetza with its "America's Classic" award. Given to a "restaurant with timeless appeal, beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community" that has been open for more than 10 years, that elite award is rarely given to a Mexican place, despite the fact that L.A. boasts a number of other wonderful places that have been open much longer. The Oaxacan-style Guelaguetza opened in 1994; meanwhile, classics like El Cholo and Barney's Beanery have been serving up Mexican specialties since the 1920s; El Coyote since 1931; and Tito's Tacos since 1959. There are always new places springing up around town, too, hotspots like Chef Jose Acevedo's Mercado, which quickly spawned more locations, and Dia del Campo, which packs them in down in the South Bay. And beyond great food, places that make spectacular margaritas are hugely popular – like Ortega 120, where well over 120 tequilas are offered. They even have a "Tequila University," special classes to help patrons learn more about that uniquely Mexican libation.
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